I have been looking to get my hands on a 50mm prime for my A300 for some time now. I wanted to buy a brand new one that Sony has on their web site. Unfortunately it is completely beyond my budget. On top of that, my standard kit 18-70 lens started acting up. The focus ring was getting stuck halfway in the cycle and the camera motor was not able to turn it full cycle. What was even worse, was that Sony in India does not provide repair facilities for the Alpha system. They only provide a 3 year replacement warranty for products bought in India. Unfortunately mine is bought in Canada.
In Mumbai, Fort is an area where you can find photography equipment sellers and repairers all along the D.N. Road. While they too primarily cater to Canon and Nikon in SLRs, they do have other brands and can help with repairs depending on their mood. Some of them can be quite irritating and show a lot of attitude. It’s best to avoid them.
After meeting with about 5 camera shop guys I was able to find a guy who sounded very confident about the fact that he could fix the lens. I left it with him. While walking back to where my motorcycle was parked, I started asking all the camera shops that I had not been to whether they had a prime lens for the Sony, either a Sony or a Minolta. I found one shop that claimed to be in business for the last 85 years. The people in the shop seemed a little more knowledgeable about Sony/Minolta and also had used Minolta/Sigma lenses for Sony. After rummaging through their store room in the back for about 15 minutes, they brought out 2 Minolta lenses and 1 Sigma lens for me to look at. The Minolta lenses were the 50mm f1.7 and an 18-35 zoom. The Sigma was also a zoom.
I obviously tried out the 50mm first and was very happy with the way it worked considering that it was quite old. Fast, bright and compact. The other lenses were not that much fun and would require a lot of cleaning since they had dust and fungus in them. My camera didn’t even detect the Sigma. I bought the 50mm since I really needed a replacement lens since the 18-70 was out of commission. Everyone on the various forums told me that this was the lens to go with. I listened to them.
The lens cost me Rs.5400 (about USD 117) which was cheaper than what it was going for on ebay Hong Kong and ebay US. The lens didn’t have the lens caps, so I bought them on ebay India for basically nothing. Here is the lens.
Sample images are over at my Flickr page.